By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
SIX people are still missing in Saki, Goilala, Central, as villagers continue digging through mud and debris in the third week of efforts to recover the bodies from the Dec 28, 2020, landslide.
The decision on whether the search continues or is called off will be discussed when Goilala MP William Samb meets with Prime Minister James Marape.
Samb gave an update on the search saying that communication continued to be a problem in the area.
However, he said the discussions between the PM and himself would see how they could best approach calling off the search efforts through customary obligations.
“With so many lives lost, and as it is a PNG community affected, we want to approach this issue of calling off the search through customary means, and this means how we, as the district, can come in with the support of the Central government and the national government,” he said. “I want to speak to Marape on what comes after everything is completed.
“For me, it would be organising awareness and training for the villagers who continue to live in the area.
“While we talk about alluvial mining, we want to ensure the mining area is safe and that the people understand the dangers of working in such environments where they are in enclosed tunnels and the weather is unpredictable.
“We want to create safe alluvial operations for all those who run businesses from what is earned through the mining operations.
“That will be continued to be discussed so we support the community but ensure they are empowered economically as per the Government’s slogan of ‘Taking Back PNG’.”
Samb thanked business houses and individuals that donated cash and in kind to support the relief efforts.
“We are thankful for the support and also we are organising the relief efforts which are flown into Saki and we are continuing to receive more support and for that, I want to thank everyone who has donated.”
The search in Saki continues, all nine bodies that were retrieved during the first week of the disaster have been removed and sent to their villages.
Those who were found were repatriated to Udukuma, Mondo, Kone, Sopu and Tolukuma all in the Woitape local level government.